This Moldova-based Eurodance trio was founded in 1999 by Dan Balan aka Duke (b. 6 February 1979, Chisinau, Moldovan SSR). Balan began his musical career as the songwriter and keyboard player for a doom metal band Inferialis, before teaming with PetruJelihovski to form O-Zone. Although they shared success in Moldova with several hit singles the duo parted company because Jelihovski claimed the band was just a hobby for him. In 2001, Balan recruited Radu S â rbu aka Picasso (b. 14 December 1978, Peresecina, Moldovan SSR) and Arsenie Todiras aka Arsenium (b. 22 July 1983, Chisinau, Moldovan SSR). The band became best known for their massive hit, ‘Dragostea Din Tei’, also known as ‘Mai Ai Hee’ or ‘The Numa Numa Song’. When further translated the title is ‘Love Of The Linden Tree’, a reference to the work of Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu. Reaching number 1 in 32 countries, the song went on to sell over 12 million copies worldwide. Remarkably, over 100 artists in 12 different languages have covered it to date. The song also caused an Internet phenomenon whereby American Gary Brolsma posted a video of himself miming and dancing to the song in front of his webcam. It became one of the most viewed video clips ever, and led to Brolsma making appearances on US television shows such as The Tonight Show.
O-Zone’s follow-up, ‘Despre Tine’, was well received although its modest success could not live up to ‘Dragostea Din Tei’. The accompanying album was also largely successful. In 2005 the band decided to go separate ways and focus on solo careers. S â rbu and Todiras have since both had relatively successful solo careers in Europe. Balan relocated to Los Angeles, California, USA to focus on his solo rock project, and recorded an album with acclaimed rock producer Jack Joseph Puig.